Alberta Beef Producers announced the 2010 Environmental Stewardship Award recipients at the Annual General Meeting in December. This year the Waldron Grazing Cooperative Ltd., located in Southern Alberta, was selected.
Each year a judging panel visits all nominated operations across Alberta. This year the judging team, which included three ABP environment committee delegates, ABP General Manager Rich Smith, and University of Alberta student John Pattison, traveled from Stavely to Spirit River to view each of the four nominees.
"The judging team has a very successful three-day, 2,700 km tour that covered the majority of the province. We are very pleased with the Waldron being selected," said Greg Bowie, ESA Chair.
This is this first time in the 18-year history of the award that a cooperative operation has been selected as the award recipient. The Waldron currently has around 70 shareholders that all run cattle on the land. Recognising that they are part of a larger community, it is very important to the group that they are doing to right thing and being proactive in their environmental practices.
The Waldron has worked closely on environmentally-focused projects with groups like Cows & Fish, Sustainable Resource Development, and the Alberta Conservation Association. They pride themselves on their innovative stewardship practices that focus on energy management, watering systems, minimizing air pollution, rangeland health, and wildlife management.
"The Waldron works hard to protect the environment they operate on, and to provide numerous opportunities for research and education," said Bowie.
Watering systems have been developed to provide cattle with better quality water and to protect the water source. Sheep are used at the co-op to graze plant species that cattle won't eat. Pasture rotation and timing also plays a very important role to encourage an increase in desirable grass species. Proper rotation allows for increased efficiency in grass utilization.
It is the Waldron's dedication to their best management practices that has earned them the 2010 Alberta Beef Producers' Environmental Stewardship Award.